F6 disk is a colloquial name for a floppy disk containing a Microsoft Windows NT device driver for a SCSI or RAID system. F6 disks are used by all NT-based versions of Windows, including Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP. Starting with Windows Vista, floppy F6 disks are obsolete; its setup process supports loading third-party drivers from USB drives and CD-ROMs.
An F6 disk is named after the manner in which it is used. During the installation process for Windows, the Setup program must load device drivers for the disk system on which Windows will be installed. Unless the disk system has been established on the market before the finalization of the particular Windows release being installed, the drivers are not included on the Windows installation discs, and they must be loaded by means of an F6 disk. An F6 disk is loaded in Windows setup by pressing the F6 key immediately when Windows Setup starts. The message "Press F6 if you need to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver..." is briefly flashed on the screen every time Windows Setup starts.
An F6 disk contains device drivers in its root directory. Prior to Windows Vista, F6 disks were always floppy disks because, at the point the F6 prompt is shown, Windows Setup has not loaded the drivers for any media type other than floppy disks. Support for USB drives and CD-ROMs was added in Windows Vista. Device drivers for RAID and other disk controllers are often provided on CD-ROMs by the manufacturers, but they must be copied to an F6 disk if they are to be used during Windows Setup. An alternative approach is to slipstream the required SATA/SCSI/SAS/RAID/EIDE drivers into the Windows installation files directory (e.g. i386 for the x86 variety) by means of software like nLite and then create an ISO image that can be burned to CD or DVD media.
- Microsoft support, KB313348